Top Tips to Pass Your MOT

How Do I Pass My MOT?

For most road users their upcoming MOT is one of the most nail-biting experiences. But why is this? If the DVSA’s data on MOTs is anything to go by, then the worry towards MOTs is likely because the pass rate is so low. 

According to this data, out of 8,298,071 tests taken from July to September 2019 a whopping 2,015,463 vehicles across all classes failed their MOT. 

Whilst the final fail rate for this quarter was 24.3% compared to the initial fail rate of 31.4%, it is clear that only a small number of vehicles managed to pass their MOT after fixing minor faults for their re-test.

Why is the pass rate so low? What are the top reasons for most MOT fails in the UK?

Luckily, the most common reasons for failing are also the most easy to avoid!

With the DVSA’s top reasons for failing an MOT being lights, suspension and brakes, it’s clear that good vehicle maintenance makes all the difference when it comes to passing your MOT. 

There are simple checks you can carry out on your car on a day-to-day basis, and to make things even simpler we at Scrap Local will go through the little things you can do to pass your MOT. 


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How to Pass Your MOT?

Below we’ve listed the things you can do to make sure your car meets the standards needed to pass your MOT. 

Most of these steps can and should be carried out every time you drive your vehicle as they ensure that you and others are safe whilst you’re out on the road. 

Here are the main things you should do to keep your car in roadworthy condition to pass your MOT and whilst driving on a daily basis!

Check Your Lights

In 2017, the DVSA reported that the top reason for failing an MOT were lights.

Between April 2015 and March 2016 alone, 1 in 5 cars failed their MOT due to simple problems with their lights such as blown-out bulbs. 

Needless to say, the first thing you should do before setting off to the test centre for your MOT is to make sure that all of your lights are working properly.

Press the hazard button to turn on all of your lights before walking around your vehicle to see if they’re working.

It’s important to remember that the hazard button will not show you if the switches to turn on your headlights, indicator lights, reverse lights or fog lights are working.

Make sure that you also check each set of lights individually to ensure that their switches are working correctly too.

We recommend that you test your lights at night to see if you can both see and be seen whilst driving.

Don’t forget to check your interior lights and the lights on your registration plates! 

Check Your Brakes

Secure and working brakes are essential to driving safely, so it’s understandable why vehicles with slack, loose or worn brakes fail their MOTs. 

How to Check Your Brakes

To test your foot brake simply bring your car to a stop upon rolling off. The brakes should not feel slack or loose, and they should not pull your vehicle to one side.


To test your handbrake park on a hill to see if it holds your vehicle steady. If your car rolls back whilst your handbrake is on, then you probably need to see a mechanic before your MOT.

Check Your Tyres


Your tyres should have no cuts, lumps or wear.

Even the smallest amount of wear and tear could lead to a major fault in an MOT, so it’s best to check the condition of your tyres and change them if needs be.

How to Check Your Tyres

For most vehicles your tyres must have a minimum tread-depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of their width. 

To see if your tyres meet the legal tread-depth you can use either a tread wear indicator or a 20p coin

How Do I Check My Tyres with 20p?

Place the 20p coin in the main tread grooves of each of your tyres and check to see if the outer band with “Twenty Pence” written on it disappears.

This means that your tyres have the correct tread-depth!

Keep in mind that for motorcycles, large vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles the minimum tread-depth is 1mm.

For more information on tyre tread-depth, visit the official GOV.UK website.

Top Up Your Car's Fluids

It’s always good practice to fill up all the fluids your vehicle needs to run properly before an MOT.

Different tests during your MOT such as checking your vehicle’s emission levels, windscreen wipers and brakes require fluid in order to be carried out.

Due to this it’s important to top up your vehicle’s oil, windscreen washer fluid and brake fluid before your vehicle is tested.

Check Your Steering

Your steering wheel should not be too stiff or too tight for you to turn.

If either of these is the case with your vehicle, then you could have an underlying problem with your steering fluid, steering gear or linkages which needs seeing to before your MOT.

How to Check Your Steering

First, you should check to see if your power steering fluid is leaking.

Next, listen out for grinding or thumping sounds whilst steering as this could indicate a problem with your steering gear which needs repairing before your MOT. 

Check Your Car Mirrors

During an MOT, your interior and exterior mirrors will be tested to see if they are securely attached to your vehicle, can be adjusted and do not negatively affect your view of the road whilst driving.

Make sure that your windows are securely attached to your vehicle and can be adjusted properly to improve your view of the road whilst driving.

Make sure that you clean your mirrors before your MOT as you could receive a fault if they are dirty and diminish your view.

Check if your mirrors have any scratches, cracks or discolouration to improve your chances of passing your MOT.

Check Your Horn

This one speaks for itself! Just press your horn when it’s safe to do so to see if it works properly.

Avoid sounding your horn in built-up areas from 23:00 – 07:00

Clean Your Car

A quick trip to the car wash never hurt anyone and it could be the difference between passing and failing your MOT!

Dirt on the outside of your car, especially on your vehicle’s windscreens and registration plates, could land you with a major fault on your MOT for poor visibility.

With this mind, make sure you clean the outside of your car to avoid these avoidable faults.

The last thing you want during your MOT is for the mechanic to cancel the test on account of too much clutter around your car seats and boot.

Make sure that you remove any items that could obstruct the mechanic from carrying out the MOT and clean the inside of your car.

We also advise that you remove items which could be seen as negatively impacting your view whilst driving such as a sat nav, sat nav mat/holder and air freshener before your MOT.

Check Your VIN/Chassis Number

This is the final thing you can do to improve your chances of passing your MOT!

You must make sure that your Vehicle Registration Number (VIN), otherwise known as the Chassis number, on the body of your vehicle matches the one in your vehicle log book (V5C)

You must also make sure that your vehicle’s VIN can be read clearly before your MOT. You can do this by cleaning your vehicle’s windscreen to ensure that your VIN number can be read from the outside of your vehicle.

Keep in mind that your VIN could be located on a different part of your vehicle to this.

You can also find your VIN on the driver’s door frame, on the front of the engine block, or on the front end of your vehicle’s frame.

Make sure you know where your VIN is on your vehicle before your MOT!


MOT Pass Checklist

Following these simple steps should help you to understand your vehicle’s condition, resolve any issues in advance, and improve your chances of passing your MOT. 

To help you carry out and keep track of these steps before your MOT, we at Scrap Local have created the following checklist for you to use when preparing your vehicle for its MOT!

We wish you all the best and hope that we have removed any worries you might have about passing your MOT.

If you want to learn more about what is assessed during an MOT, then visit the official GOV.UK website and read the manual that’s relevant to the vehicle you drive.

Alternatively, if you feel that your vehicle is too tired to maintain and would like to purchase a new, more reliable motor, then why not scrap your old car with us at Scrap Local?

We work with reputable scrap yards, scrap metal dealers, and recycling centres to find you the best prices for your scrap vehicles. We don’t charge for admin fees and we even offer free collection of your vehicle.

Get a scrap car quote with us today to see how much you could make for your vehicle!

If you would like to find out more about how to scrap your car, read our in-depth guide where we talk you through who and what you’ll need to go about it!

How to Pass Your MOT Checklist

Scrap Local

Scrap Local

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